Linda Ballard

WE were asked to track down the bargain of the new year and, according to Randy Renshaw, we will find it at the Kilgore Lions Club Chili Luncheon. He said, “The luncheon started as a fundraiser 41 years ago for the Lioness Club. In fact, it was my Grandmother Lucille Eldridge’s idea to begin the luncheon and that gives you some idea of how long my family has been involved with the club. When it disbanded in 1995, the Lionesses gave all their funds they had left to buy tables and chairs for the club house and the Lions took over the chili luncheon in 1996.

Randy added, “The luncheon has always been held the third Friday during the month of January and that has remained the same although tickets have gone from $4 to the price we have now of $7, but that’s a bargain! Where else can you get a big bowl of good chili and all the trimmings, drink and dessert for a price like that. And most of the men go back for seconds...”

The members of the Lions Club will start at 6 a.m. the morning of the luncheon cooking 240 lbs. of meat by browning 32 lbs. at a time in big square pans and then adding the “secret” seasoning to have it ready for serving by 11 a.m.

We all shared a good laugh when Randy said, “Other tham the chili, the real reason I enjoy the luncheon so much is that it is like a big community gathering of friends and neighbors and truthfully the only time we get to see each other through the year. Of course, this is an election year, so there will be plenty of politicians on hand spreading good campaign promises.”

Only two complaints have been received by the Lions Club over the years. The first complaint was from a woman who became very upset there were no sugar-free desserts offered. That was taken care of the following year and thereafter. The second complaint came when a man showed up at 2 p.m. for a bowl of chili and they had completely run out. He was refunded his money and the club members fixed that problem by changing the closing time to 1:30 p.m. to ensure last minute arrivals got to enjoy the chili.

Randy said, “Of course, one year we could not get our special seasoning. We were in a bind. So, I just developed my own recipe and it turned out great. Of course, when you are working with 30 lbs. of meat or so at a time, it had better turn out great. That was in the year of 2012.”

Although this year’s chili will have their special secret seasoning, Randy offered out the 2012 recipe in case any of the East Texas Oilmen and others would like to use it in their annual cook-off. The last line is solid gold.

Kilgore Lions Club Chili Recipe

30 lbs. lean chili meat

4 cups chili powder seasoning (Sam’s Club Mix)

1 cup dehydrated onions (put in while browning meat)

1/4 to 1/3 cup cumin

1/8 to 1/4 cup salt (adjust to taste)

1.5 cans tomato sauce (#10 can)

1.5 cans water

Brown the meat with onions and then add all other ingredients. Simmer for at least two hours. Of course, you can adjust the recipe for your own taste. Please remember, it’s easy to add but hard to remove. Enjoy! It is definitely a Renshaw classic.

We have already had some fun before it has begun. The Lions Club Chili Luncheon is from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 17 at Kilgore Community House located at 622 Kay Street in Kilgore. Tickets can be purchased from a Lions member or at the door. Have a good time while eating hearty!

GETTING DOWN to business, the Overton/New London Chamber has elected Beverly Uzzell, agency manager for Insurance One in Overton as their new president for the year 2020. In her opening remarks for the year, Uzzell praised her predecessor, Charles Robinson, Jr. for his leadership in two consecutive terms.

Beverly’s goal for 2020 is to “Hopefully lend a hand in unifying this community and for this community to go forward and be viable. We have to work together in a positive, impactful way. Look for new things; update existing things. We want everybody to say, Hey! Come to the (Chamber) meetings!”

Some chamber goals include reviving the Overton Bluegrass Festival, last held in 2011; sponsoring another golf tournament at the restored Highland Hill golf course, formerly Overton Golf Course, and hosting an auction fundraiser to support chamber projects.

BECKY TYNER HAS her collection of handkerchiefs and aprons on free display to the public at London Museum. Hand-sewed and embroidered, they go back decades with some still in their original boxes. The handkerchiefs have their own social customs and traditions.

J.M. Jones, former KNH staffer and writer reports he took his mother Virginia “Ginger” Jones to see the display. She thought it was “fantastic!” The London Museum is currently open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday — Friday through the winter season and will open on Saturdays starting March 7th. It is located at 690 S. Main St., New London, TX.

MAY HIS LOVE AND LAUGHTER Fill Your Hearts and Your Homes Throughout the week. In the meantime, we may be reached at chitchatlinda@aol.com or 903-984-2593.

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